Reviews

December 28

Review- Elephants on Acid

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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I picked this book up on a recommendation from a student. The title is certainly catchy, and as it is full of odd (and some amazing) experiments, I thought it’d be an interesting read.

It is definitely interesting. Some of the experiments are downright sick (he goes back in time a bit, when we had less understanding of science, or maybe even morals). There are several headings in the book, and he categorizes experiments under them (for example, some of the most disturbing are under the heading, “Frankenstein’s Lab”).  Other categories include: “Bedtime Stories”, “Mating Behavior”, “Oh, Baby!” and “The End”.

What I liked most about this book was learning more about experiments …

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December 27

Review-Sex, Sin, and Zen

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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I bought this book for someone a year ago, based on a line I read in it while flipping through it. The line had something to do with even the staunchest vegans taking lives, by eating a living thing called a vegetable. A little later in my perusing there was something else that made me think this was the perfect book for her. At the time I was looking at it, I didn’t even realize the same author as one of my all time favorite Zen books, Hardcore Zen, wrote it. When I realized it, not feeling I needed any help applying Zen to sexuality, I looked for other books by …

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December 19

Review: Love and Will

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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I started reading this book in June, along with a couple of others. I want to learn as much about love as I can, and considering I teach some of May’s thoughts on it, I figured this was a good choice. It was definitely the tougher of the reads I’ve done lately. I’ve found books by great thinkers of era’s ago are difficult for me. Maybe writing has been watered down to a point where even with a graduate degree more eloquently written arguments seem cumbersome.

Whatever the case may be, May’s book is well written. Like a philosopher he lays out his argument against the freewheeling sex “for release” of the …

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August 31

Review- Still Here

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

still here

I purchased this book because of the title. I had read “Be Here Now” (see the review here) and, though it was a bit bizarre, I recommended it. I also said in that recommendation, I should probably read some more of his current work. So this title fit the bill.

It took me about 9 months to read the book. I read many in between starting and finishing it, and generally felt it just didn’t grab me the way the others did (two Zen books, a Buddhist book, a text on dreaming, a Yalom novel, a book on mindfulness, another book on training your mind, and a book on …

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August 1

Review: Our Dreaming Mind

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

Our Dreaming Mind

Interestingly, my ex-girlfriend bought me this book years ago because of my interest in dream interpretation. Though interested in reading it, I didn’t prioritize it until I was granted permission to teach, “The Psychology of Dreams and Dreaming” at FIU this summer. The book just happened to be the same the other professor who teaches it uses. Either quite a coincidence, or perhaps it has some merit in the field. Admittedly I didn’t read it all, and only skimmed some of the chapters. After all, one rarely teaches the whole textbook. But I read the vast majority.

The text, though last published in 1994, has a very 70’s feel to …

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July 31

Review: Zen, Wrapped in Karma, Dipped in Chocolate

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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It took me longer to finish “Zen, Wrapped in Karma, Dipped in Chocolate” than it should have. Why? Because I liked it so much and wanted it to last longer. I put off finishing it despite being three quarters of the way through. (Also, I was overwhelmed with school responsibilities and reading, but the former statement is still true).

This is the third book by Brad Warner that I’ve read. Many years ago I read “Hardcore Zen”, his first book, and loved it. I still recommend it often to those wanting to learn about Zen without pretense. His writing is down to earth, real, humorous, and he demonstrates the real life of …

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June 19

Review: The Spinoza Problem

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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As many who read my reviews know, I am a huge fan of Irvin Yalom. I’ve read nearly every published book he’s written, both scholarly and fictional. I was excited to read “The Spinoza Problem”.

Like some of his other books (When Nietzsche Wept, The Schopenhauer Cure) Yalom weaves in this tale therapy and philosophy. In this he alternates chapters about Nazi Germany and Spinoza’s excommunication from the Jewish community. The two are tied together because of the great many German thinkers who respected Spinoza’s writing. This caused a problem for Rosenberg, a Nazi war criminal, who believed Jews had nothing to offer.

I enjoyed learning about Spinoza’s philosophy through the book. Yalom …

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May 31

Review: The Five Love Languages

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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I generally shy away from books everyone tells me to read, maybe some defiance left over from childhood. But I couldn’t ignore the amount of couple’s therapy clients asking me if I read it. I didn’t want to remain ignorant, so I did.

The theory is sound. There are 5 “Love Languages” or ways in which people feel loved by a partner. Most of us try to show love the way we feel loved, and that doesn’t work if your partner feels loved one of the other four ways (80% chance of failing, in other words). Learn to show love the way your partner feels loved, and, well, it’s that simple. The …

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May 27

Review: Don’t be a Jerk

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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I found this an excellent book. Perhaps it’s because much of what Brad Warner wrote I agree with, or believe, or have picked up in other books about Zen. Perhaps some of my fondness for the book comes from his shattering of the Zen Master image (though he would never call himself such…but the back-cover of the next of his books I will read does… Zen koan or publisher choice?). He takes what is reputed as a tough sacred text (Dogen’s Shobogenzo) cuts through some of the nonessentials, and presents it in modern language. This makes for a more entertaining (and sometimes awakening) read.

Much of what Warner interprets from Dogen is …

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March 23

Review- Conquest of Mind

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Reviews | No Comments

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I ordered several books for my trip to Japan, to read on the long flight. None of them arrived, and I resorted to taking one from a client-donated shelf of books in my office. (This despite having four books I’m currently reading). It was the title that grabbed me, “Conquest of Mind” by Eknath Easwaran.

The book is excellent. Sure, there are parts where I think he goes on too long with personal anecdotes to make his point, but who doesn’t? It’s also clear he sees meditation as the cure for all matters of the mind, and he’s pretty passionate about that. So if you hate meditation you probably won’t like …

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